Widow of hotshot describes 1st Christmas without her husband - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Widow of hotshot describes 1st Christmas without her husband

Andrew and Juliann Ashcraft Andrew and Juliann Ashcraft
This was the last photo Juliann received from her husband before he died battling the fire on June 30. This was the last photo Juliann received from her husband before he died battling the fire on June 30.
YARNELL, AZ (CBS5) -

For the families of the 19 Granite Mountain hotshots killed battling the Yarnell Hill Fire, it was the first Christmas without them.

Juliann Ashcraft likes to remember times of fun, games and laughter with her husband, Andrew Ashcraft and their four children.

But the picture-perfect family was torn apart by tragedy. Andrew Ashcraft was one of the 19 Granite Mountain hotshots killed fighting the wildfire on June 30.

"We're just going to have to grit our teeth and bear it this year," Juliann Ashcraft said. "It's rough, you know, you don't want to celebrate anything."

Ashcraft said her family follows the same traditions every year.

"We would always put up our tree on Black Friday. Andrew would get all the decorations down and we would decorate as a family. He would set up the tree and then the kids would all put up the ornaments and after they went to bed, he and I would then go hang the Christmas lights outside the house," Juliann Ashcraft said.

Now, it's just her and the kids.

"It's been interesting now to do all my mom duties and once the kids go to bed, I realize I have to do the dad duties and it's exhausting, it is just so exhausting," she said.

But she said life with the kids must go on.

"They are on all the time so we don't have a choice to lay in bed and cry. You've got to go to work and do things for them," she said.

She believes things will get easier in time.

"He'll be with us throughout the years to come. There's no doubt in my mind. Hopefully there will come a time when we can think about him and smile before we cry. This year, unfortunately, we'll probably just spend a lot of time in tears on Christmas," she said.

Ashcraft said Christmas was made possible this year by the 100 Club of Arizona, a nonprofit group that provides aid to families of fallen officers and firefighters.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Hometown Hero - Edward Wilcox

    Thursday, July 20 2017 8:11 AM EDT2017-07-20 12:11:40 GMT
    Ed WilcoxEd Wilcox

    A DeQuincy businessman has the distinction of being one of the first National Guard members to represent his town. It had been five years since World War 2 and Ed Wilcox found himself serving his country in the National Guard.  Wilcox was too young to serve in the war, but felt the guard could keep him trained. "We went to training, Fort Polk and everywhere else," said Wilcox. "Learned to shoot. Learned how to walk. Laughs. How to march."  Wilcox becam...

    More >>

    A DeQuincy businessman has the distinction of being one of the first National Guard members to represent his town. It had been five years since World War 2 and Ed Wilcox found himself serving his country in the National Guard.  Wilcox was too young to serve in the war, but felt the guard could keep him trained. "We went to training, Fort Polk and everywhere else," said Wilcox. "Learned to shoot. Learned how to walk. Laughs. How to march."  Wilcox becam...

    More >>
  • UPDATE: Police identify man who died in Sulphur City Jail

    UPDATE: Police identify man who died in Sulphur City Jail

    Thursday, July 20 2017 7:21 AM EDT2017-07-20 11:21:04 GMT
    (Source: Dignity Memorial)(Source: Dignity Memorial)

    Police have confirmed a man died earlier this week inside the Sulphur City Jail. According to Mel Estess, spokesman for the Sulphur Police Department, the man was arrested Tuesday, put in a cell alone, and died. Police are not giving any word on how he died or releasing his identity. The coroner's report is not complete according to Estess. KPLC will update this story as more information becomes available. Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.

    More >>

    Police have confirmed a man died earlier this week inside the Sulphur City Jail. According to Mel Estess, spokesman for the Sulphur Police Department, the man was arrested Tuesday, put in a cell alone, and died. Police are not giving any word on how he died or releasing his identity. The coroner's report is not complete according to Estess. KPLC will update this story as more information becomes available. Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.

    More >>
  • What's Going Around: roseola

    What's Going Around: roseola

    Thursday, July 20 2017 6:56 AM EDT2017-07-20 10:56:57 GMT
    Roseola is a generally mild infection caused by two strains of herpes virus. (Source: KPLC)Roseola is a generally mild infection caused by two strains of herpes virus. (Source: KPLC)

    A common strain of the herpes virus is causing What's Going Around this week. KPLC's Britney Glaser reports almost every child will contract roseola at some point, and there is no treatment for the infection. 

    More >>

    A common strain of the herpes virus is causing What's Going Around this week. KPLC's Britney Glaser reports almost every child will contract roseola at some point, and there is no treatment for the infection. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly